Lunar New Year in St Albans

Chines New Year Festival #1 – Alfreida street, St Albans
Sunday 5th January 2014

Every year for the past 16 years St Albans has come to life with the lunar new year festivities taking place in the closed off Alfreida street. This was the first year I attended the St Albans festival as previously we were always busy performing at either the Springvale, Richmond, Crown or Russell street events (see further down for the dates and locations of this year’s Lunar festivals). It was so great to see all the local traders and the community come together to enjoy the culture and celebrations as they welcome the new year – approximately 70, 000 people were expected to visit the St Albans festival this year.

Opening ceremony

In the opening ceremony we were told by the MC that this is the year of the green wood horse and in 2014 if you’re thinking of travelling or starting that business, now is the time to do it! We also told to watch out for an unexpected romance. 😉 The festival was opened by some special guests including Bill Shorton and some representatives from the Victorian Multicultural Commission, Vietnamese TV and John Watson from the Brimbank Council. There was loud applause when Bernie Finn promised that this was the year that will finally see the removal of the St Albans level railway crossing – let’s keep an eye out for that. Loud firecrackers and vibrant lion dancing brought the main stage to life and then we were off to check out the wonderful aromas that filled the street. Baby D received a red envelope from the beautiful women dressed in traditional attire, score!

The food

All the stalls had fresh food ready for the taking and I thought it was all quite reasonably prices compared to other festivals I’ve been to! All up we spent around $50 pigging out on:
bbq skewers, salt and pepper soft shell crab,
beef wrapped in betel leaves, shrimp pancakes,
Vietnamese iced coffee and sugar cane drink and some Vietnamese doughnuts.

It was such a nice way to spend a Sunday as the sun shone down on us. There were over a dozen rides and games that filled one half of the street creating such a cheerful atmosphere as you walked from one stage to the other. Singing and dancing by the local talents entertained the masses. Food, entertainment, family and great weather, what more could you ask for!

If you missed out last weekend, not to worry! – the St Albans Lunar festival was just the first of the Chinese New Year offerings this year in Melbourne. See the below table for the upcoming dates and locations or you can check out their official website here. Congratulations on such a well run event! See you at the next one!

Upcoming Chinese New Year events

Location Venue Dates Time
Richmond Victoria St, North Richmond Sun, 19 January 2014 10 AM – 10 PM
Springvale Buckingham Avenue, Springvale Sun, 26 January 2014 9 AM – 9 PM
St Albans St Albans Town Centre Sun, 5 January 2014 10 AM – 9 PM
Box Hill Market St and Main St Sat & Sun 1 – 2 February 2014 1 PM – 1 AM
Chinatown Russell St Sun, 2 February 2014 10 AM – 10 PM
Glen Waverley Kingsway, Glen Waverley Sun, 9 February 2014 11 AM – 9 PM
Footscray Hopkins Street, Footscray Sun, 2 February 2014 10 AM – 10 PM

Crown Casino will also run their 12th annual Hawkers Bazaar along the Yarra with many stalls and stages from
Thursday 30th of January – Sunday 2nd of February 2014 and spectacular fireworks displays at midnight on Thursday 30th of January and 9pm on Saturday 1st of February.

If you’re hungry for more check out fellow bloggers Kenny and Arielle to see their adventures at last Sunday’s Lunar festival 🙂

Rewind Dance Crew doing rocking the CNY stages over the years


Life Lately #6 – plus a Christmas Giveaway!

The Urban Ma blog meets Ms Claus SMK

The last leg of 2013!

Can you believe it’s almost November!? Lately I’ve gotten accustomed to the fact that time just seems to go by way too quickly and the past few weeks have been no different – I can’t believe I have an almost one-year-old! Being October, the wedding season has started along with Christmas parties many more celebratory events and with an 11-month old in tow this has proven to be just a tad bit more tiring than usual (sorry for my lack of blog posts last week – I’ll make up for it this week!). If you’ve been following me on Instagram (@jacqfruit) you will have seen what my past few weekends have been like. Thank you to all of you for your comments and messages on my Twitter, Instagram and Facebook posts lately and as always if you have any suggestions on any topics you’d like to see in my blog posts please feel free to leave a comment or email me! Also, keep scrolling down to see details on how to enter my first Christmas giveaway! 🙂

– I originally set out to make October the month where I don’t buy anything new…umm, epic fail! I bought a few new things for my little man (shopping haul here) and also for myself as sadly my mat leave is ending soon and I thought I should buy a few new things for my first week back at work.
– visited a few eateries for the first time and also ate at some old favourites! (a local favourite, see here , a variety of new places I’d never been before ranging from Indian cuisine to American style chicken and burgers!
– we took Baby D to his first ever Melbourne Show and I had such a great time I wrote a massive post on it – photo heavy! See here.
– we had lots of nice and quiet family time and walked to the lake every time the sun was out so Baby D could feed the ducks! #itsthesimplethings
– Baby D spent some quality time with both sets of grandparents 🙂
– I attended the 6th annual AHC Dance competition this year not as a competitor but as a volunteer and it was so amazing to see life backstage and all the talented dancers live their passions on the stage at the prestigious Crown Casino venue, The Palms (blog post coming soon)
– I spent some time with Baby leisurely strolling through Melbourne city and South Melbourne visiting little boutiques and eateries
– celebrated lots of birthdays and had a few mothers group get togethers 🙂
– attended a few bloggers events, see here and here
– And finally yesterday, after a week of rehearsals, we took part in a proposal flash mob gig complete with dancing, beautiful log-stemmed roses, a percussionist ensemble, a curious Bourke street mall crowd, a film crew and a very much in love and most organised groom-to-be I’ve ever met! It was a success – she said YES! <3

The Urban Ma shops UniHill FO bargains The Urban Ma at Crown Metropol The Urban Ma blog jacqfruit at the RoyalMelbShow The Urban Ma blog in MelbourneThe Urban Ma 6th birthday party fairy themeThe Urban Ma blog at Crown Metropol The Urban MA blog jacqfruit The Urban Ma blog jacqfruit Brimbank Cairnlea lakes The Urban Ma blog nanna The Urban Ma blog mothers groupKstar ueg ahc2013The Urban Ma blog backstage at AHC The Urban Ma blog at Estellas The Urban Ma MishandaThe Urban Ma styling Daniel Flashmob proposal flashbmob


SMK The Urban Ma blog craft handmade SMK The Urban Ma blog sweets table SMK The Urban Ma blogSMK ootd The Urban Ma blog styling daniel

A Christmas Giveaway! – Santa’s Magical Kingdom, Melbourne, Burnley Oval.

Melbourne get ready to see a truly magical experience. Burnley Oval will be transformed into Santa’s Magical Kingdom this November and December. The magic of Christmas will come alive at Santa’s Magical Kingdom with an interactive walk-through adventure land including everything that you love about Christmas, plus a spectacular Christmas themed circus show that will amaze everyone. Enjoy an enchanting walk-through wonderland that includes regular snow falls, rides, amusements and a variety of Christmas activities including ginger bread decorating and Christmas sand art. And of course the day would not be complete without the jolly man himself; even Mrs Claus and Rudolph pay a visit!

Tickets include entry, gingerbread decorating, sand art, unlimited rides and access to the Magical Kingdom! Great family value! Tickets are $39.50 plus Ticketek charges. Kids under 3 years of age do not require tickets. To purchase tickets click here. Santa’s Magical Kingdom sold-out in 2012! Dont miss out and get your tickets now.

Santa’s Magical Kingdom Giveaway Details!

WIN a family pass to Santa’s Magical Kingdom for Sunday November 17th, 11am 2013
TO ENTER
1) Share on Facebook, tweet on Twitter or repost on Instagram (use tags #smkgiveaway and #jacqfruit)
AND
2) Email theurbanma@hotmail.com with “SMK Giveaway” in the subject line and the following information:
– your name
– the age/s of your children/s
– where you have shared or reposted (Facebook, Twitter or Instagram)
Competition closes and winners will be drawn at random on Monday November 11th. The winner will be notified by email and must reply within 3 days otherwise another winner will be drawn. The family pass is not transferrable and is available for use on Sunday November 17th 2013 for the 11am session.

Good Luck!

SMK collage giveaway The Urban Ma blog

Melbourne Monday: Chemistry? Yeah, chemistry!

The Urban Ma N2EGIMG_0310

N2 Extreme Gelato – 329 Brunswick st, Fitzroy

Happy Monday everyone!

Our freezer is stocked up with ice cream all year because just like my grandma, the hubby too, loves his hit of creamy coolness no matter the season. I think his favourite thing about being an adult is the fact that he can buy and eat ice cream whenever he likes (today he had a serving of caramel ice cream before and after his afternoon siesta!). So when we a friend took us out for dessert at N2 Extreme Gelato I knew it would be a sweet end to our night out.

The use of liquid nitrogen at N2 Extreme Gelato plays on the strength of a phenomenon called nucleation-dominated ice crystallisation, it forms a large number of microscopic ice crystals in seconds, resulting in exceptionally smooth textures – N2 Extreme Gelato’s website

After about a fifteen minute wait for our  Black Lava salted caramel cup of silky smoothness (it was a very busy night and all the flavours are freshly made), we tucked into our first taste of N2’s infamous gelato. Oh so smooth with such a divine taste we didn’t stop until our cup was licked clean. Tip: if you’re ordering the black lava salted caramel flavour, don’t eat all the black bits of topping at once or you’ll have an extremely salty surprise! Share the salt around with the rest of the gelato! 😉 N2 also serves their gelato several degrees warmer than your average ice cream so say good bye to those brain freeze moments!

N2 is decked out with green faux grass in the front window and more towards the back of the store so you can sit and have a gelato picnic. Combined with the artwork and daily flavours drawn onto the blackboard painted walls, N2 makes for a cool hang out with friends or a good book as you enjoy the liquid nitrogen show that takes place behind the glass windows. Definitely need to visit this place again!

The menu changes weekly so follow N2 Extreme Gelato on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram for their latest news and concoctions.

N2 Extreme Gelato on Urbanspoon

Jacqfruit Randomness!: The title of this blog post comes from which 1950 musical starring Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra? 🙂

The Urban MA eats salted caramel

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Jacqfruit N2 menu

How the new Trailer Park at Village hits all the spots!

The Village

trailer park collage

Trailer Park Melbourne,Village, 557 St Kilda Road, Melbourne
Saturdays and Sundays 12-8pm
Kid-friendly, Pram friendly, Take away, Dine in (out), Food, Drink and Dessert.

After eagerly following their Twitter updates, we finally headed out to Trailer Park Melbourne yesterday!

With 5 food trucks in the one place and full service from the bar at Village Melbourne, we enjoyed some food truck tucker with baby in tow. Beatbox Kitchen, Gumbo Kitchen, The Curry Truck, Cornutopia and newcomer The Brulee Cart were the trucks on show and we were spoilt for choice!

It was a cold Melbourne day so we rugged up and were warmly greeted by lots of heaters and even an undercover area with plenty of tables, benches and a row of gazebos – well planned. Our little ones kept nice and toasty sitting under the outdoor heaters as we went to order our food. The large communal tables also meant that you could easily get into friendly conversation with the fellow food truck diners sitting next to you at this much loved watering hole (Village Melbourne is the former Belgian Beer Cafe – I wonder how long it’ll take for us all to stop saying that!).

We arrived just after 12:30pm and it wasn’t as busy as I expected it to be. The waiting time for most of the food truck wares was around 15-20mins. Lucky we ordered when we did because it got busier about an hour later. Going with a group of friends meant that we were able to taste everything from the po’ boys, curry and burgers, to the tacos and creme brulee. My faves were the Buffalo chicken po’ boys from Gumbo Kitchen (tender, well-flavoured chicken) and the dark chocolate and peppermint creme brulee from The Brulee Cart (smooth with a crisply torched top). The better half and some friends had the epic double burger from Beatbox Kitchen where they asked for both the Raph and Shroom burger in one (is there an official name for it!?). It is $15 and so worth it! You gotta try it! We’ll be back again to try the Tequila and lime creme brulee and more!

If you are after a kid-and-adult friendly place to share good food, drinks, dessert and conversation in an outdoor venue that considers Melbourne’s crazy weather, Trailer Park hits all the spots…complete with hanging flamingos! Just make sure you stick to the path as there is currently construction taking place on the grounds.

IMG_3880[1] (2)Roomy space fit for a pram 🙂

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The kids approve! – all smiles!! 🙂

Trailer Park

Copyright © 2013 The Urban Ma All Rights Reserved.

Life Lately #4 – Winter Warmers

The Boys

Even with the icy cold winter breeze settling in we managed to spend lots of time outdoors all rugged up and soaking in the sun’s warm rays. There is always so much to do in Melbourne and these past two months I continued to make the most out of mat leave enjoying this special time with family and friends and also working on personal development.

Here are some things we got up to:

– birthdays galore! 😀
– catch ups and coffee at some lovely Melbourne cafes
(The Cornershop, Carlisle Wine Bar, VicPies, Tasty T, Top of the Bay and Chase Kitchen – see post here)
– family time with the grandparents, great grandparents and in-laws
– took a turn at the mic and MC’d for a dance comp (a little scary but heaps of fun!)
– first club gig with the Mishanda girls post-partum (Yayy!)
– another successful AHC (Australian Hip Hop Championships) prelim at MSAC
– attended a talk on “Personal Branding”
– met speaker Catherine Moolenschot and listened to her “Funnel of Greatness” talk
– attended a seminar by Tim Gill “Expanding Children’s Horizons”
– mothers group chill sessions 🙂
– dinner at Father Noel’s with past and present WYD (World Youth Day) pilgrims
– date night with the hubby….and Superman ;P
– finally got back to the gym
– organizing Baby’s room
– baby photo shoots
– watched Baby start to stand confidently, climb the stairs and get excited as his first two teeth cut through
– tried hand sewing some pants for Baby (need a lot more practice! :/)
– watched some of the hubby’s ball games
– ended the first half of 2013 with a relaxing mini-getaway to Redesdale, Victoria
– and of course did a little shopping 🙂 (see my Instagram @Jacqfruit)

Mishanda gigMishanda gigging at Red Bennies on Chapel street – so much fun to be back on the dance floor!

AHCThe Melbourne preliminary round of AHC 2013 – always makes me happy seeing the dance community together and supporting each others passions.

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A lovely brunch at Friends of Mine on Swan st in Burnley – you have to order the banana bread!!
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Baby loves the camera!
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MC gig with Hasmin at the first ever Fired Up Dance Competition run by the council of Greater Dandenong, FREEZA and Tracy from Replay Dance Productions.Camilla's 1st birthdayIMG_0767

Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you!
IMG_0349IMG_0366Enjoying Williamstown with the grandparents <3

leavesChillin’ at Highpoint with Lolo – Baby was so enthralled by the plants and the leaves.

shesaysSheSays Personal Branding talk at SpeakEasy on Chapel street.

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Tim Gill at the St Kilda Town Hall – great talk about bringing up our children in a risk-averse society.Carlisle

After talk sweets at the Carlisle Wine Bar – these donuts were amazing, and so was the ambience 🙂Mother's groupBaby D’s mothers group buddies are all growing up so fast!

sewingOk so I made him pants that were a little too tight :/ I need more practice.

WYD dinnerAlways an abundance of food when you have dinner with Father Noel – good food, great cheese, gorgeous wines!

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Mel’s famous chicken pho! 😀 A perfect winter warmer.redesdale

Our cozy “little” cabin – “The River House” in Redesdale.IMG_0733

So grateful to wake up to this little bundle of smiles everyday!

What have you been up to recently and what is one thing that are you grateful for?

xoxo

Autumn Days

Autumn Days IMG_0066IMG_0051 IMG_0054IMG_0069IMG_0063Forever New Cape and hood coat, H&M t-shirt dress, Target scarf, Platinum No Waist Shaper Opaque stockings, Target flats

With such cool weather gracing Melbourne lately, I had to borrow my little sister’s gorgeous mustard colored coat with a nice big hood. It makes me feel like Little Red Riding Hood when I wear it and it is so warm! It’s surprisingly a size 16 but it was the only one left and totally worth purchasing. I feel so cozy when I’m wearing it, like I’m wrapped up in a nice big blanket as I walk around the city. As it is big and roomy, I always try to team it up with light, fitted bottoms or tops so that I don’t look too bulky. As the autumn leaves all and winter sets in, this standout coat brightens up even the grayest of days.

P.S If you like reading my posts and would like to show your support click  here to vote for my blog! <3 Thank you!! xo

Blew me away

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Cocolatte peplum top (similar here), Cotton On Body bottoms, Sportsgirl necklace (similar here), black heels borrowed from my sister, Australis nail polish in Kick The Bucket. On Daniel: Country Road polo tee, Rhubarb knit vest (similar here), Oishi M bottoms (similar here), Converse baby shoes.

Today’s OOTD post is simple with a pop of blue. With our stay in the CBD being extended I quickly had to shop around for something to wear on Mother’s Day – something affordable, something comfortable, something stylish. This is what I came up with 🙂 Let me know what you think and what you wore for Mother’s Day! This was my first Mother’s Day celebration and it was a day filled with food, love, mummies, grandmummies and great grandmummies. Mother’s Day this year blew me away – the hardest but most rewarding job in the world was celebrated this year with a family bbq lunch, afternoon high tea and a delicious home-cooked dinner <3

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Cupcake Central hosted our high tea experience this Mother’s day with delicious sandwiches and gorgeous sweets! Loved the rose water and pistachio meringues and of course my favourite – creme brulee cupcakes. There were pikelets topped with salmon and a creamy mint chocolate mousse – YUM!!

What did you get up to last weekend?!

-xx-